There’s a brilliant article from Peter Singer in Project Syndicate this week about Donald Trump’s whinging over the unfairness of the Paris climate agreement. Trump is basically the fat kid who ate 3/4 of the cake and then complained that it’s unfair he didn’t get more while 3 other kids shared the 1/4 remainder between them.
By this standard, was the Paris accord unfair to the US? Hardly. The US currently has less than 5% of the world’s population, but emits nearly 15% of the world’s greenhouse gases. If fairness means that everyone’s slice of pie should be the same size, it is the US that is being unfair, by grabbing a slice that is three times bigger than it should have.
India, by contrast, has 17% of the world’s population and emits less than 6% of its greenhouse gases, so it would be entitled to almost three times its current emissions. Many other developing countries use an even smaller fraction of their per capita share of the atmosphere.
Perhaps equal slices are not the fairest way to divide a pie. One obvious objection is that equal division takes no account of how much the people seeking slices really need them. Are the pie-seekers genuinely hungry, or are they already well fed and just looking for a treat?
But taking need into account does nothing to assist Trump’s case that the US was unfairly treated by the Paris accord, because Americans could easily cut back on luxuries like vacation travel, air conditioning, and meat consumption, whereas less affluent countries need to industrialize to lift their populations out of depths of poverty unknown in the US.
Theresa May and Labour’s Diane Abbott seem to be competing for the biggest nincompoop award in this election campaign. I think Diane Abbott is slightly more incompetent than Theresa May and even worse is that she’s the shadow home secretary during a campaign with two terrorist attacks. The home secretary is the person responsible for national security, among other things.
In this interview on Sky News it’s obvious she doesn’t understand the question. Why not just say, “I don’t understand, can you elaborate?”. There’s only one thing worse than a politician who doesn’t know what he/she is talking about and that’s a politician who pretends to know what they’re talking about.
It’s not surprising that both Labour and the Conservatives have kept Abbott and May away from TV debates as much as possible. Is it possible they’re just nervous or are they really nincompoops? I still haven’t decided who to vote for.
I wish the media would not publish the names of terrorist attackers. These men get a hard-on by thoughts of media notoriety and it encourages others to copy them. We should completely ignore them and focus instead on the lives of the victims and their bravery and the bravery of those who came to help. Let the terrorists be nameless nobodies forever.
Wars are not necessarily won by the army with the biggest guns, although I don’t doubt it helps. They are won by the side that makes clever decisions and has an intelligent population supporting them. It is said that Britain was able to defeat Germany in WWII thanks in large part to the mathematicians at Bletchley Park. As Donald Trump has shown us it’s not enough just to be rich, we also need to be clever.
I want to pay tax to support a public education service that lets individuals from all backgrounds thrive and reach their full potential. We can’t just cater for rich kids and hope that one of them will be the next Alan Turing. We don’t know where the next mathematics whiz kid will come from but if we provide opportunities for children from poor backgrounds as well we increase our chances of having more Alan Turings.
Cuts to education funding under the current Conservative government creates a competitive disadvantage that is not in our favour. Scientists may not be huge money-makers for an economy but they are the trampoline from which lucrative ideas can spring which entrepreneurs can then develop. They are also the means with which we gather intelligence. Cryptography depends on problems in pure mathematics.
I apologise for all the Theresa May bashing on my blog recently but her response to the terror attacks has prompted this. She wants to regulate the internet to stem extremism but that’s not going to be effective. It’s not possible to control information on the internet. Terrorists will find new ways to communicate. Instead we need education and intelligence. Education within Britain will help to develop a population that rejects extremism and an intelligence service that has the brains to defeat it. I also support extra funding for police and security services and am happy for my taxes to go towards that. We shouldn’t be teaching our kids how to use an iPad; we should be showing them how they work.
I’ve had one glass of wine and I’m really pissed. I don’t want everyone to think I’m an alcoholic or anything because alcohol is best avoided. I don’t drink very often but I bought a half case of sulphur-free wine recently and I’ve really enjoyed it drinking it, especially the red wine.
The broccoli in my garden is starting to flower. I have some broccoli at the allotment but it was planted later and isn’t quite as advanced yet.
The blue poppies are also blooming again this year.
I have deliberately avoided writing about the terror attacks because I don’t think we should give the criminals the media attention they desire. It only adds fuel to the fire and encourages copy-cats. However I do want to send hugs to all those affected. Kia kaha is what the New Zealand Māori say and it means, stay strong.
Dinner is ready! We’re having spaghetti bolognese but made with red lentils instead of mince. Red lentils are a great replacement for mince. Meat-eaters like to laugh at me but my lentil meal is cheaper and healthier than the meat version and when I’m 80 and the arteries feeding my heart are clearer than the front windscreen of a freshly washed electric car, I’ll have the last laugh.
John Crace from The Guardian calls Theresa May the Maybot. I think it’s very apt because she has come across as stilted and robotic in this election campaign, repeating memes and displaying a lack of independent thought and critical thinking. I realised yesterday what I am particularly fearful of with Theresa May and that is we don’t know what her cards are. She keeps everything hidden and then surprises us with a snap election, a dementia tax, a plan to lift the ban on ivory trading …. what’s next? With Jeremy Corbyn we know his views because he has revealed them to us. Labour has also produced a fully costed manifesto which the conservatives have not. Why haven’t they? They are the ones who called the election. They knew and could have prepared in advance. Labour didn’t know until the rest of us did and yet they’re prepared.
Brexit is another example of this. Theresa May has steadfastly refused to detail her plans for Brexit. She was absent from the leaders’ debate last week because she was “thinking about Brexit” and yet none of us have any idea what her plans are. Rumours have it that she doesn’t want to reveal her strategy to EU leaders. After she was elected by the conservative party last year she was quoted as saying Jean-Claude Juncker would find her a “bloody difficult woman”. I was and still am stunned that she thinks this is a good strategy and even boasts about it. It sounds arrogant, stubborn, and obtuse to me and not at all the sort of diplomacy which will be required to get a good deal for Britain. Labour say their plan is for tariff-free trading and the rights of EU citizens in the UK and vice versa which sounds sensible to me.
I follow NHS Million on Twitter and this turned up in my feed yesterday:
The strong support for Theresa May by older voters seems at odds with this since older voters need the NHS more than any other age group. It’s something that puzzles me. I’m also astonished that nurses haven’t received a pay rise since 2009 while she gets a 10% rise.
I support policies that favour education, health, and the environment. I’m happy to pay tax to support all these things for a stable and inclusive society. I do not support fox hunting and ivory trading. If Theresa May wins on Thursday I’ll be voting yes in the next Scottish independence referendum without a doubt.
I’ll likely be voting for Labour or SNP on Thursday. I haven’t yet decided which party but I’m leaning towards Labour because I really like Jeremy Corbyn and I want him to be Prime Minister. He rides a bike, he’s vegetarian, and he wears his mother’s knitted jumpers. What more could you want from a leader?
Nevertheless, I suspect Theresa May will win. Apparently she’s very popular with over 65s who have traditionally had a good turnout on voting day. Young people are flocking to Jeremy Corbyn in droves but they often have a low turnout on election day. The result will largely depend on how many young people turn up to vote. Unlike my home country, Australia, there is no compulsory voting here.
Theresa May has not been very good in public appearances during this campaign. It doesn’t help that she hasn’t turned up for debates but when she does she comes across as cold and stilted. She also repeats memes – “there’s no money tree” – which could mean she’s nervous and doesn’t know what else to say or that she lacks critical thinking. Whatever the reason neither is a good quality for the person who will lead Britain through Brexit.
I didn’t watch BBC Question Time last night but I followed the #bbcqt Twitter hashtag and the clear winner was this member of the audience.
I agreed with all the horrified Tweets condemning the blood-thirsty desire of some of the audience to nuke the planet.
Interestingly all the nuclear bomb lovers were men and the only person who stood up to them, apart from Jeremy Corbyn, was a woman.
It’s worth noting that Twitter is not a very representative sample of the voting public. May’s supporters are predominantly over 65s who likely don’t use Twitter and so the chance of them Tweeting their support for Theresa May is nil. The over-65s who do use Twitter are probably likely to favour more progressive policies. The verdict on Twitter was overwhelmingly in favour of Jeremy Corbyn.
I’ll end with this Captain SKA rap song about Theresa May. It’s good!
We went for dinner to The Handmade Burger Company this week. It’s a chain store which sells – no prizes for guessing what – burgers! I nearly fell off my chair and had a heart attack when I saw the menu because there were six vegetarian options and four of them vegan. Usually there’s just one thing for me to eat when we go out which I don’t particularly mind because it avoids decision fatigue.
I didn’t know what to do with myself? Four choices! They all looked delicious. How could I possibly choose? The decision was too difficult so we decided to go home and cook instead. Just kidding!
I ordered the Thai Vegetable and it tasted just as good as it sounds.
Theresa May plans to lift the ban on ivory trading. Why would anyone want to do that? The reason is because people who sell antiques are required to prove that any ivory in their products was worked before 1947 and this is apparently difficult and expensive to do. She is putting what is a minor inconvenience for antique dealers above the lives of endangered elephants. But are the rest of us any better?
A former Australian military sniper and navy clearance diver, Damien Mander, started the International Anti-Poaching Foundation to use his military strategy and training to protect elephants. His Twitter account has images of the problem:
He is a hero. He says in his TED talk (which I’ve embedded at the end) ,
“Does that elephant need its face more than some guy in Asia needs a tusk on his desk?”
Of course not. However we are hypocrites when we judge others for harming animals without good reason when we do exactly the same thing.
Damien also asks in his talk:
Does a cow enjoy its life more than I enjoy a BBQ?
Damien Mander is vegan. The guy in Asia killing an elephant for his desk needs it no more than we need the meat from the 1.2 billion animals we slaughter every week for food. The longer I live happily and healthily as a vegan the more I realise how unnecessary the suffering is and how wrong and culturally biased we are to ignore it.
Here’s my lunch today:
It’s porridge with nutritional yeast, soya yoghurt, soya milk, banana, blueberries, chia seeds, and pomegranate seeds. I eat this for lunch almost everyday. The fruit varies a little bit depending on the season and we we have in the house.
Nutritional yeast is something I’ve only just discovered recently and it’s delicious. I love it so much and sprinkle it generously over everything. It’s not available in supermarkets here but I recently found it at Newton Dee and I’m addicted to it. It’s an inactive yeast which is fortified with B12. Here’s the full nutrition information:
Damien’s TED talk is wonderful and worth watching.
Sainsbury’s reported earlier this year that sales of their newly launched vegan cheese exceeded expectations by 300%. This is not bad at all considering the vegan market has always been viewed as small and somewhat niche. I decided to give their vegan macaroni cheese a try.
It’s a ready-made meal for one which you heat for five minutes in the microwave. It’s also gluten-free and wheat-free which is a disappointment for me since I’m not in the 1% of the population that has coeliac disease. Why does it matter, you ask? Gluten-free foods tend to have a higher glycemic index (GI) than foods made with wheat. Wheat is often replaced with rice or potato and both are very starchy and have a high GI. Wheat has more protein in it than rice and therefore a lower GI. I will always choose wheat over rice and potato for this reason. I also prefer the taste of wheat. Pasta made with rice is often sticky and doesn’t have the same flavour. It annoys me when vegan food is made gluten-free. I guess they are trying to boost sales by capturing two different markets but when I see gluten-free I usually put my wallet away. I had gestational diabetes when I was pregnant with Daniel and people who follow a gluten-free diet are at a slightly higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
I purchased Sainsbury’s mac and cheese without realising it was pasta made with rice but I ate it nevertheless and it was very tasty. If I hadn’t known it was made with rice I probably wouldn’t have realised. The texture was good and suitably cheesy. If I was a coeliac I’d definitely buy it but given that I’d prefer pasta made with wheat for health and taste reasons, I will not buy it again. Now to go and do 300 star jumps to combat the sugar rush…
I was planning to be all smug in this post and write about how vegans can make their own milk from a packet of soy beans while non-vegans have to find a cow to milk. Unfortunately my first attempt at making soy milk created a watery and slightly gritty mess. I tipped it down the sink. I milked a cow once and it was easier. I’ll go back to buying soy milk from the supermarket.
Elizabeth told me recently that Pepper Pig is to blame for her cavities. A few years ago the dentist found three cavities in Elizabeth’s mouth. This was a shock to all the rest of us who have near perfect teeth. She now has three stainless steel caps on her back baby teeth – they’ll fall out when she’s about 10. Since that episode both children floss their teeth everyday. What has this got to do with Pepper Pig? Apparently when Pepper Pig brushes her teeth she just goes back and forth across the front and doesn’t clean the back teeth and Elizabeth says she was copying Pepper Pig and not cleaning the back teeth. I was all prepared to take the blame myself but if Pepper Pig is a willing scapegoat I’m not going to stand in her way.
I went to the allotment last Saturday after a two-week hiatus and I was expecting to see it completely overgrown with weeds. Much to my delight and gratitude a whole section was freshly dug and ready for me to plant some seedlings. There are volunteers who work at the allotments doing things like digging, painting, and various other jobs and someone had cleared a patch of weeds in our plot. Isn’t that amazing! I think some of the volunteers might be on a waiting list for their own plot while others like the work but don’t want the responsibility and maybe some are looking for a place to bury a body. Whatever the reason I feel very fortunate to be a part of this community. Every country should have allotments for its citizens. Imagine if impoverished countries had something like this? It could go a long way to solving the problems of hunger and malnutrition. I have a three solutions for most of the world’s problems: cycling, veganism, and allotments.
I haven’t been op-shopping for ages but had the chance to duck into a charity shop on our way home from the vegan festival today. I got this lovely dress.
Aberdeen had its first ever vegan festival today and we went to check it out. Despite being vegan for more than a decade, this was the first vegan festival I’ve ever been to. I’ve never lived anywhere that had such a thing. It seems ironic that my first vegan festival should be in the home of haggis.
It was held at the most unusual place: the Aberdeen football club’s home, Pittodrie stadium. Perhaps this is not so unusual these days. After all, there is a vegan football team in England and the US has a vegan strip club. When I think of a vegan festival I think of plants and nothing remotely like Pittodrie stadium, which suffers from a dearth of plants and too-much-brick-and-concrete. It’s a very ugly and uninspiring building.
We got there early and, as you can see, there was a long queue out front. How can that be? I thought I was the only vegan in Aberdeen. Daniel was equally perplexed and asked me why there were so many people in a “Why would anyone go to a vegan festival?” tone of voice. It turns out hundreds of people would go. The festival was absolutely packed.
There were lots of stalls selling food but only two lunch-type places and the queues at both were longer than an average vegan’s life expectancy. Then one of them ran out of food and so I think it was much busier than anyone expected, which is terrific, although a bit disappointing for me as I was hungry.
Glasgow-based French chef Laurianne was there with her delicious raw cakes. You will not taste a better cake anywhere else on Earth.
The queue for these delicious-looking pastries was also ridiculously long and so we didn’t try any, unfortunately.
Vegan food products are experiencing enormous sales growth right now and with people like Bill Gates promoting and investing in plant-based foods, it’s only going to become more and more popular. I just want to say I was vegan before all the cool kids were doing it. The following video is from Bill Gates’s site: it explains the science of plant-based proteins and why they’re more sustainable.
Since we moved to the UK in 2014 I have voted in four elections: a general election, a Brexit referendum, a council election, a Scottish parliamentary election, and another general election next month will make five. We also narrowly missed out on voting in the Scottish independence referendum in 2014 by just two weeks. I’m starting to suffer from election fatigue and am still undecided about who to vote for in the general election next month. The only certainty is that I will absolutely not be voting for Theresa May whose election promises so far are to unban fox hunting, further endanger elephants by removing the ban on ivory trading, and to introduce a dementia tax (I think she may have since scrapped this last one).
There’s a site where you can enter your postcode to find out who to vote for if your main priority is to keep the Conservatives out of power. It’s called Tactical2017 and it tells me I’m in a safe SNP seat so I should vote SNP but theoretically I can vote for anyone. The isidewith site tells me my views align most closely with policies from the Liberal Democrats followed by Labour and then SNP in third. I have been thinking of voting Labour but then my local Labour candidate put a letterbox leaflet through our letterbox on Thursday in which his top pledge is to “Invest in the oil and gas industry’s future”. If you are someone who wants evidence-based policy-making as I do then oil and gas has no future. I have asked him for more information but haven’t heard back yet.
It seems to me that if we want to protect elephants and keep the Conservatives out of power the only option is to vote Labour. A vote for any other party will only dilute the vote against the conservatives. What do other people think? Who should I vote for?